The City of Sherwood, AR law currently prohibits the ownership of certain dogs based on their breed or appearance (also known as breed-specific legislation, or BSL). While the intent of the law is to protect the public interest, it has not only proved to be ineffective, but has come at the huge cost of many dog’s lives and violated the constitutional rights of citizens who love the banned breed by forcing them to either surrender their pets, or move out of city limits.
Currently, cities and municipalities all over the country are reversing BSL as more states are finding them unconstitutional and disallow breed bans such as California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. Currently, no state allows a state-wide ban any longer.
Research from the American Veterinarian Medical Association, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the American Humane Association, the Humane Society of the United States, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that BSL is a misguided and factually unsupported policy for protecting public safety. Rather, enforcement of leash and licensing laws, restricting breeding within municipalities and supporting education and access to spay/neuter of resident animals directly correlated to decreases in bite cases while fostering humane attitudes towards animals in the community.
To The Honorable Mayor Hillman and the City Council of Sherwood:
Whereas we recognize that each and every dog is an individual in temperament and behavior, and physical appearance does not determine behavior;
Whereas all dogs have the potential to do serious or lethal harm, and this is not dictated solely by a dog’s physical appearance but by a number of complex circumstances;
Whereas dog owners should be held strictly liable for the actions of their dogs regardless of the dog’s physical appearance, so that both dog owners and victims of irresponsible dog owners are provided equal rights and restitutions;
Whereas breed-specific or breed-discriminatory legislation is unethical and inhumane, and has been shown to be financially unsupportable, a detriment to public safety, and a legal quagmire;
Whereas non-breed-specific or non-discriminatory laws provide public safety in an effective, humane, legal, equitable and ethical manner;
We, the undersigned, ask that the City of Sherwood repeal breed specific ordinances while increasing public safety through stricter breeding laws, enhanced enforcement of current leash and licensing laws and improving access to spay/neuter for the pets of Sherwood’s citizens.